Mother Forced to Leave Toddler on Train
"I was getting my things out of the station at the stop when the doors suddenly closed with my daughter inside!" Kracht said, reports the Telegraph newspaper. "It was the worst moment of my life. I heard Marie Luise shout 'mama' and she was gone!"
The mother, Ulrike Kracht, was unloading her two-year-old's stroller at the Pritzwalk station, located about an hour-and-a-half north of Berlin, when she turned back to get Marie Luise. But the doors shut and the Deutsche Bahn train sped off. When Kracht asked train employees to radio ahead to stop the express train, she says she was told, "We can't do that. It must run on schedule."
Travelers on the train witnessed a scene like something from a movie when a police car with Kracht in it raced after the train with its lights and sirens blaring, finally catching up at Neurippin station.
Deutsche Bahn's handling of the situation was unacceptable, said a spokesperson for passenger advocacy group the Pro-Rail Alliance, reports The Local, an English-language paper covering German news.
"It's more than realistic to say that the train could have stopped near the station," she told a local German paper, adding that it would have cost 15 minutes at most. She said that if conductors had explained the situation to passengers, the delay would have been easily forgiven.
Both tourists and residents rely on Germany's official rail system to get around the country.
The incident might have been caused by the railway's strained resources following a strike by train drivers on Friday morning, the German paper reported. Allegedly, a railways spokeswoman said: "There was no train coming back in the other direction anyway because of a strike."
"I was all right until I saw her and then the tears came and she started crying then too," said Ulrike.
Deutsche Bahn has undertaken an investigation into the incident and CEO Rüdiger Grube apologized personally to the woman, news sources report.
This is the second bizarre incident involving a toddler in a matter of days. Virgin Blue fired a male flight attendant after a woman said that he picked up her 17-month old son and placed him in the overhead bin and then latched it closed. The flight attendant claimed he was playing a game with the child and his father.
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